Trib HS Insider Q&A: Derry’s Josh Wannamaker
In two previous seasons, Derry football star Josh Wannamaker played in a total of six varsity games.
It wasn’t planned to be that way.
“He’s been snakebitten,” Derry coach Al Gaiardo said.
The versatile, 5-foot-11, 205-pound Wannamaker played two games as a sophomore in 2010 before missing the remainder of the season with a broken collarbone, then missed more than half of the 2011 campaign with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
“It takes a year sometimes for a knee injury like that to fully recover,” Gaiardo said. “Josh is only going to get stronger and much more confident with that knee. He’s having a great senior season and I feel like he can have a fabulous college career.”
Wannamaker, a running back who has played seven positions on either offense or defense this year, rushed for 227 yards, caught three passes for 34 yards and scored three touchdowns in Derry’s 49-41 loss on Friday at Greensburg Salem.
Q: Derry scored 41 points, and you had a tremendous individual performance. What was it like to play in a game like that?
A: It feels outstanding. We didn’t come out with a win, but I feel like I came out with a good effort. Even though my stats were like that, I don’t feel like I did enough.
Q: How tough has it been to keep your head up through the losing streak?
A: It’s really hard. When people get down, the coaches look to me to lead. I feel we’ve got a good group and I still know that I have 10 guys around me that will give their best and play as hard as they can.
Q: How do you feel about being asked to play so many different positions this season?
A: It doesn’t really matter to me. Wherever coach needs me, that’s where I’ll go. A couple of weeks ago, I asked him right before the game if I could play middle linebacker, and that’s where I ended up playing.
Q: How important is it at this stage of the season for you to keep putting up big numbers and show college coaches what you can do?
A: I just keep a good work ethic. I want to get my name out there because I want to play college football. I want to show college coaches what I’m capable of doing.
Q: Who’s been the biggest influence in your life?
A: My mom and dad. They always push me to do my best, not only in football. They’ve been strict and cracked down on me, and that’s brought me up to be a better person.